390 POLITICAL SCIENCE. sion of taxes among the members of the mir, who are jointly responsible for the debts of the separate members ; granting of passports to its members ; discharging old members and receiving new ones; and judging in small civil and criminal cases. Formerly recruiting, or furnishing soldiers to govern- ment, was also one of the duties. The meetings of the assembly, that is, of the inhabitants, are informally called by the elder or starosta, as the people are leaving church; and are held frequently sub dioy and often in the neighborhood of a tavern. When there has been talk enough, the question is not put and decided by a majority, but if there appears to be a difference of opinion they adjourn, and do this more than once, until the minority withdraw, or some compromise is effected. When there are candidates for some office, the names are talked over before the meeting begins ; and when a name is mentioned, the meeting shows its feeling in a few words, and a decision is made. The community has a good deal of power over its members, but this is exercised rarely except for the purpose of compelling them to pay their share of the taxes.* I have said and need say nothing respecting self-governing self-governing divisions greater than towns, since in the matter power in counts. of local and self-government they have but a subordinate interest. The county brings justice near to the people, who otherwise would be oppressed by its expensive- ness ; and it is convenient for some purposes of administration, but is of little use in calling forth and keeping up the self- governing capacity of the people. In the southern states of our Union the system of slavery required that plantations should be larger than they would be in communities composed of freemen only, and there was no centre of population except the county-seat This prevented common schools, and ren- dered joint action difficult except for communities spread over a district of considerable size. In some of these states, *Ashton W. Dilke, in Essays, u. s., 314-317. I have in some places made use of his words. Comp. Laveleye, de la propri&e, chap. iii.